Call this “the first 98” or whatever, but I have to admit up front that this is not, in fact, a kickoff to the next 100 books I’m going to read this year. In fact, this is Book #98 I read this year, and I KNOW, I KNOW, I promised that I would start getting cutthroat once I hit that magical number of 100. What can I say? I was:
a) Impatient to get going on this
b) Afraid that my 100th book and my kickoff would be some lame-o book
So I’m cheating a bit. What are you going to do, arrest me?
WHAT I READ:
Some Kind of Happiness (Claire Legrand)
HOT TAKE, ON A TOTALLY SCIENTIFIC SCALE:
On a scale of Trump to Trudeau, this book is a sizzlin’, Tim Hortons-drinking, hockey-loving, hunk of a Prime Minister.
WHY I READ IT:
Book club, baby! The last couple of books we read were duds, so I was pleased to have loved this one so dearly.
Even before the book officially starts, it opens with the best dedication:
If you are afraid, sad, tired, or lonely; if you feel lost or strange; if you crave stories and adventure, and the magic possibility of a forest path – this book is for you.
I mean. You guys. I just love that. Immediate warm fuzzies.
The book opens with an excerpt from the narrator Finley’s fantasy novel about Everwood, a magical forest home to “astonishing creatures and peculiar, solitary people.” Finley writes about Everwood throughout the book and these fantasy excerpts are sprinkled throughout; normally I hate that (I truly hated that in Fangirl, one of my favorite books), but in this instance it really helps to add some color to Finley’s lines.
You quickly find out that Finley is going to be spending the summer with her paternal grandparents (and her aunts and cousins, who live nearby), all of whom she has never met as her father is mysteriously estranged from them. She is immediately overwhelmed when she sees their home (Hart House) and struggles to understand what the unspoken rules of the house and the family are. She tries to fit in, but finds herself on her first night waking up “sweating and pinned to [her] bed in terror,” unable to make the terrible and anxious thoughts in her head stop. In an attempt to calm herself, she starts to explore her grandparents’ yard; that is when she discovers their backyard is Everwood.*
(Note: Not actually Everwood, but still a cool forest).
HOW IT MADE ME FEEL:
In case you didn’t get everything you needed to know from my highly well-written and literary post, may I direct you to more flailing at my Goodreads.
In short, this book is a mature Middle Grade exploration of mental health (particularly depression and anxiety), family dynamics, and the power of imagination. It meant quite a lot to me as a formerly anxious kiddo and a currently anxiety-prone adult, and the writing was, quite simply, magical.
P.S. I just finished Book #100 (Noughts and Crosses) and it turned out to be a good one! Quite thought provoking. So, keep an eye out for Book #101 and the legit kickoff of #thenext100 coming up soon!